March 30, 2010
As part of our series on Longtail Philanthropy, I’m interviewing Stacy Caldwell of Dallas Social Venture Partners, and Ruth Jones of Social Venture Partners International.
Click here to read more.
March 26, 2010
San Diego Social Venture Partners are community minded professionals who contribute time, money and business expertise to help innovative nonprofits chosen through a rigorous selection process. The organizations selected for investment – called Investees – have a clear vision, strong leadership, a commitment to measuring successful outcomes and a desire to collaborate with high-level volunteers.
SDSVP’s mission is to accelerate social change by developing the organizational capacity and sustainability of each nonprofit they support, empowering them to serve the community more effectively and efficiently. Its Partners are diverse in their interests, but all are united in their commitment to strengthening San Diego County, helping its people achieve long-term social change.
REALITY CHANGERS - Building First-generation College Students
Founded in 2001 by a former teacher, Executive Director Christopher Yanov, Reality Changers is a powerful after-school mentoring program that helps disadvantaged youth in San Diego County become first-generation college students. Through tutoring, academic support and financial assistance, low-income students from 38 middle and high schools have turned their lives around to become college-bound leaders in our community. The program supports 120 students who otherwise might be expelled from school or involved with gangs and drugs.
Reality Changers is California’s leading tutoring program for scholarships where students have earned $5 million in financial aid from all sources. Of the 87 students who completed the program, 83 have gone on to college, including Ivy League schools. The Reality Changers program is seen as a model for other cities and is highly praised by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. Yet there are more students on Reality Changers’ waiting list of 150 than those currently served. This is an ideal fit for expanded services and capacity building through the involvement of SDSVP volunteers. For more information, visit http://www.realitychangers.org/.
Audeo Charter School – Nurturing Student Achievement
Founded in 2001 by Board President Mary Searcy Bixby, Audeo Charter School is part of the Altus Institute – a network of charter schools for students in grades six through twelve who seek an advanced and self-motivating alternative to traditional education. Audeo provides a successful model of collaborative learning, high-level curriculum, self-paced lessons and year-round enrollment.
Audeo teachers have designed a curriculum that meets the learning needs of each student and is aligned with California State Course Requirements. Located in classrooms in neighborhoods and malls throughout San Diego County, Audeo’s independent study model provides skills development, career exploration, high-level thinking and enrichment of the core curriculum.
Students master learning skills including the ability to read, write, compute, solve problems and work independently and in teams. Students must also be proficient in the use of technology, effective time management, performance accountability, wellness and relating to others. SDSVP sees involvement with Audeo Charter School as an exciting way to support successful educational alternatives. For more information, visit http://www.audeocharterschool.net/.
ABOUT SAN DIEGO SOCIAL VENTURE PARTNERS Established in 2001, San Diego Social Venture Partners (SDSVP) is a nonprofit organization of engaged professionals who invest time and money in innovative nonprofits in San Diego County while becoming more educated and involved givers. Other Investees include A Reason to Survive, Tariq Khamisa Foundation, Community Resource Center, Corporation for Supportive Housing and ElderHelp of San Diego.
SDSVP is an affiliate of SVP International (SVPI), a network of more than 1,900 Partners who support a shared mission of philanthropy in 26 cities and 3 countries and have given more than $32.2 million in cash and six times that amount through in-kind contributions to more than 335 nonprofit organizations. To learn more about SDSVP or become involved as a Partner, visit http://sandiegosvp.ning.com/.
March 24, 2010
March 19, 2010
Alan heard about the Social Venture Partners model and fell in love with it. "It changed my life. The idea of encouraging talented people (the Partners)to pool their time, professional skills and money and work collectively to solve social issues was brilliant. I have spent the last nine years recruiting people to the concept in San Diego and North America and plan to do so indefinitely."
SVP is volunteering and grantmaking with a twist: the Partners' shared goal is to work with promising organizations which are making a difference and build their capacity to effect real social change. Using their professional skills, insight and experience, Partners work hand in hand with nonprofit staff and boards to strengthen every aspect of their operations and maximize their impact.
"We're encouraging people to take their entrepreneurial skills and professional experience and apply them to the community's most serious challenges. People have so much more to give than just money. SVP is the perfect vehicle: it builds great volunteers and philanthropists and catalyzes social change," says Alan.
The SVP network has invested more than $36 million and hundreds of thousands of volunteer hours in 350 nonprofits in its 13 year history. Since 2001, the San Diego Partners have contributed cash and in-kind services to 18 community organizations: nonprofits which help families and children living in poverty achieve greater self-reliance; which provide elderly people with the services and support they need in order to remain in their homes; build permanent, supportive housing for formerly homeless people; and find stable,long-term, loving families for foster children.
"Alan's like Johnny Appleseed," said San Diego businessman and SDSVP Partner Mark Fackler, "but he's not planting apple seeds - he's seeding philanthropy throughout San Diego. His message is that if we come together, if we roll up our sleeves and learn about what is happening in our city and community, we can really have an impact: we can be a powerful force for good in San Diego."
One influential outcome of this message was the establishment in 2007 of the Equinox Center. The center was founded after members of SVP realized that while balancing the economics and ecology of the region - an issue affecting urban development, habitat preservation, transportation, quality of life, economic sustainability and climate change of the region is vital, the San Diego community had no resources devoted to strategically plan for responsible growth. A nonprofit, non-partisan organization, the Equinox Center researches innovative solutions aimed at balancing San Diego's regional development with finite (and fragile)local resources.
Founder and CEO of companies in real estate construction, development, management and food services, Alan founded two 501(c)3 organizations in the 1990s which supported people living with a drug addiction and their families. In 2001, semi-retired and struggling to persuade San Diego’s business community to invest in the fight against teen substance abuse, Alan heard about SVP, jumped in with both feet and has been a catalyst in the strategic philanthropy network ever since.
Peggy Kidd, Executive Director of SDSVP sums it up: "Alan has created more new philanthropists than anyone in San Diego. It's his personal mission to drive new money to our community, and in a strategic way. He has a gift for finding a person's passion and connecting them to an organization which creates a win for the nonprofit and a win for the volunteer. Joining SDSVP has transformed the lives of many of the partners, connecting them to a meaningful experience at a time in their lives when they were searching for ways to give back."
Alan's leadership goes beyond his local community. He has travelled across the US on his own dime to mentor and advise burgeoning SVPs and has been instrumental in securing resources -funding, experts and tools - beneficial to all 25 SVPs and the 2000+ partners they represent.
Alan took the helm as SVPI's President at a time of great economic upheaval - particularly in the nonprofit sector. In keeping with his solutions-oriented outlook, Alan has chosen to focus on the possibilities rather than the challenges. He is currently leading SVPI through a visioning and planning process, reimagining SVP's impact on philanthropy and civic engagement, compelling people to take ownership in and personal responsibility for the health and well-being of their communities.
March 15, 2010
Keep abreast of what our Investees are doing to make San Diego a better place. Add Investee fan pages to your Facebook account. 1) Click on a link below, 2) login to Facebook and 3) click on the “Become a Fan” button.
...And don't forget to become a fan of San Diego Social Venture Partners, too!
By Aaron Contorer
From The San Diego Union-Tribune
February 26, 2010
Our county is at a crossroads when it comes to sustainability. We have choices to make: How can we accommodate 750,000 more people in the next 20 years, while maintaining or enhancing our standard of living? To help the region remain economically competitive and healthy in the future, Equinox Center, the independent, locally-based research and policy center that released the Quality of Life Dashboard, will explore a full range of solutions – including the potential of recycled water, the use of market forces to encourage conservation and a move to more drought-tolerant landscaping for our businesses and homes.
Click here to read more.
Click here to view report
Click here to view report
- Congrats to Louarn Sorkin for earning the LEAD Community Spotlight Award for co-founding Just in Time for Foster Youth! This honor recognizes leadership that improves lives through extraordinary dedication to people, organizations or causes. The awards ceremony will be held on Thursday, May 27, at the San Diego Hotel & Marina Marriott. If interested in attending and sitting at the SDSVP table, contact email@example.com.
- Throughout the years, Partner and SVPI Board President, Alan Sorkin has dedicated his time, expertise and support to Emeritus Investee, Cultivating Brilliance Institute (formerly HDF) and he even gave his birthday! Alan requested that in lieu of gifts, his friends and family give to the OPEN GATE Program. Thanks to their generous donations Cultivating Brilliance was able to purchase over 100 new books for the kids!
- Congrats to SVP Portland’s Executive Director, Mark Holloway, for being named as one of Portland’s “Forty Under 40″ by the Portland Business Journal. Click here to read more about Mark and how SVP is making a great impact in Portland.
March 12, 2010
Partners and guests braved the weather and enjoyed a fun, festive night to connect with each other and celebrate the impact of our work in San Diego. And...Lots of sushi and sliders were had by all!
March 4, 2010
1. How did you come to be involved with SDSVP?
My husband’s firm was interested in potentially getting involved with SDSVP, but since none of his partners wanted to actually attend an event, Jeff roped me in to joining him for the holiday party in 2004. I accompanied him begrudgingly, with absolute conviction that this would be yet another evening of mind-numbing cocktail-hour chit chat with nothing of substance to keep my noggin engaged.
By the end of the evening Jeff couldn’t get me to go home. SDSVP people are warm, incredibly intelligent, passionate and truly interested in helping make our world a better place. I was smitten. We joined right away and then I began attending various meetings and truly fell in love. Not only are SVPers all those incredible things I’d first noticed, but holy cow they get things DONE! Now I was really home. People who don’t think I’m nuts to whip out Excel and start charting a workplan? Nirvana!
2. What is the best thing about being involved in SDSVP?
Knowing that while I’m having a fantastic time with great people, I’m also making a positive difference in the world and becoming a better philanthropist and a more effective human being all at the same time. Now THAT is multi-tasking.
3. What is your favorite place in the world and why?
The Paro valley in Bhutan. Bhutan is a tiny little kingdom in the Himalayan Mountains, wedged between India and China. It is the only country in the world whose official religion is Buddhism and whose most important metric is the Gross National Happiness. Now I’m a hardcore capitalist and an Austrian economist to boot who is in a deep love affair with the United States and especially her Constitution, but Bhutan is a land where people understand what is truly important. They have no concept of consumerism, of needing this car, that purse, or this piece of clothing to make you OK. There is a gentleness there, a culture that takes a breath between listening and speaking to digest what has been said; a courtesy and compassionate view of all living things. Every morning we would get up early and practice yoga overlooking the valley, so peaceful and quiet and still. For someone like me who always has a million things going on in her head at all times, going and going and going, it was a magical escape and a hint at another way of living that I try to bring into my soul.
4. How did you meet your husband?
I met my husband Jeff in 1994, when we were both working for Accenture, then Andersen Consulting. We dated on and off for about three years, neither one of us even remotely interested in getting married but inevitably drawn to each other as long as we were in the same zip code. He took off to get his MBA and I did the same a year later. He moved to NYC for an investment banking career. I, on the other hand, didn’t lose my sanity and instead stayed on the West Coast enjoying the quiet, calm days of the Internet craze when MBAs walked on water…ahhh the good ol’ days. After about six years in NYC and having finally come to his senses Jeff returned to the West Coast. We met for a cup of coffee and were married just over a year later; it was really good coffee. The man realized he’d had it pretty good with me, (Ok, so maybe that’s MY version, but I’m sure it’s completely accurate, right Jeff?)
Jeff works in private equity real estate so he’s seen some tumultuous times, but as always is a steady eddy and with that cranium of his, figures out a way to come out strong. He keeps me on my toes!
5. Please tell us about your favorite pet.
I’m a lover of almost all things with fur and even a few with scales — just don’t put a spider near me or my do-no-harm intentions run up against the sole of my shoe and wham! I’m a sucker for any animal in need, so we tend to adopt big black dogs as they have the worst luck finding a home. Our current pup is Dublin. (Did I mention I’m Irish?!). Dublin in Gaelic means black pool, and he is a very large, black pool of mushy loving. He was badly abused when we adopted him, but quickly realized that Jeff and I are pathetic softies and exceptionally easy to manipulate with love and affection.
6. How do you spend your days off?
I’m a voracious reader and a confirmed geek, so I tend to pour through a lot of financial/economics books and periodicals. I actually think that studying economic theory is fun. I know, I’m not a healthy person. I also read a section of the Constitution and Declaration of Independence every morning as well as continually re-read the Federalist papers. Jeff’s suggested therapy…
I also love photography and have big aspirations as well as fantastic equipment, so I’m often out and about practicing. So far the aspirations have not yet met with the talent, but I’m a persistent bugger.
I also like to surf (not very good, but working on it), play golf, and have delusions of being a female Bob Vila, so there is always some project going on around the house that typically requires a lot of Band Aids and spackle, with the occasional emergency Home Depot run.
Evenings usually involve a great bottle of red wine, the bigger and bolder the better, and a good book.
7. Please tell us about a personal project you can’t wait to finish.
I’ve always got a bunch of projects in the air at any one point and they never really seem to end and, instead, just keep experiencing scope creep as I find something else to fascinate me. I’ve been working on a book, but it is one of those that will take a very long time to be written if it is to be done properly.
8. What is your most prized possession and why?
My passion and integrity. They are more priceless than any tangible possession. With them I know I can survive anything and look myself in the eye when the dust settles.
9. Please tell us about your education.
- Undergraduate in Math and Economics from Claremont McKenna College and Harvey Mudd.
- MBA in Finance from the Anderson School at UCLA
- Best education: having life kick the pudding out of me when I least expect it. The best lessons have come from falling flat on my face and having to get back up again and try.
10. Nobody in SDSVP knows that…
I LOVE to dance. When I was seventeen I had to make a choice, college or the Joffrey Ballet. I chose my head over my toes, but there are days I dream of having taken a different path, a path where music leads the way rather than quantitative analysis. Weird personal habit: When I sit down in bare feet, I tend to unconsciously point my toes…comes from years in toe shoes!